Chapter 4

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

Art and Paul had never been rivals, not until the Brettamol project. This project was their sure-shot ticket to a promotion, a chance to become a shareholder in the company. But there was a place for only one of them at the top. This was precisely why they had vied to head this coveted project.  

Art was smarter and better at numbers than Paul. So Mandy, their boss, had asked him to prepare a tender for the new security system to be installed at the Brettamol head office. In his haste and excitement, Art miscalculated the cost the project would incur, quoting a much lower cost in the tender. It was just happenstance that on the day the tender was to be sent to Brettamol, it had fallen into Paul’s hands. Paul had uncovered the grave error, saving the company’s reputation and prospects. 

Mandy then asked Paul to compile a new, more lucrative tender. Paul had shamelessly gloated on his new found popularity in the office, ensuring that everyone was sufficiently incensed with Art’s negligence. Paul’s ingenuity was the company toast when the tender got accepted without a glitch. So Paul was rewarded with the prestigious Brettamol project and Art nursed his bruised ego.

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Art’s hands trembled as he reread the message on the back of the silver ticket. He felt his knees bucking under him.  

“You must seek help. You have to tell all this to Charlotte. Maybe she can guide you,” harangued Art’s inner voice incessantly. 

Was Clarke’s appearance in his life a mere coincidence or was it precogitated? And most importantly, ‘WHO’ exactly was Clarke Abaddon? 

Art urgently dialled Charlotte’s number from his cell phone and hailed a cab.

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Charlotte was Art’s best friend and had worked for Art’s company as a receptionist. She had quit the company sometime back to pursue her hobby of tarot reading which had now turned into a full time profession.

After exchanging the obligatory pleasantries, Art revealed everything to Charlotte. 

After a long pregnant pause, Charlotte held out her deck of tarot cards to Art.

“Pick a card,” she said solemnly.

Art warily picked out a card. It was the Ten of Swords. 

Charlotte’s face turned ashen.

“What does it mean?” asked Art with much trepidation.

“This card is a bad omen - symbolic of a situation of impending doom, created by your own burning ambitions and desires. Instead of getting out of it when you had the chance, you are letting it destroy you. Stay away from Abaddon. His name says it all - a dark bottomless pit. Tear up that ticket. Don’t go to Roverhampton,” forewarned Charlotte.

Art left Charlotte’s home in a daze and boarded the empty train heading home.    

As he was about to settle down, his phone beeped twice. It was a picture message from Clarke.  

It had a photograph of him with Charlotte, with the following verse from the Bible:

 

 “The first woe has passed. Behold, two woes are still to follow.……”   Revelation 9:12

Comments

A really good 'gluing' of all the relevant facts; the who, why, when, and how. Chapter four and we know all there is to know about the situation but not what is about to happen. Tension and mystery are building and along with Art, we find ourselves asking questions - a good sign that the writers so far have done their job. This is a subject matter that requires careful thought and Hemali has given it lots. Congrats, Hemali, on pushing us into the dark world beyond with a wonderful chapter.
Thank you Ray. I am learning so much from all of you and every time it's my turn to write a chapter, I strive to give it my very best. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes not so good but the learning process is amazing.
This chapter built to a crescendo taking the reader with you. It was done artfully and then came the punch line. It caught me by surprise and all I could think was, 'so beautifully done'. That chapter leaves plenty for future writers to work with but pulls together the threads of the previous writers. It is a terrific chapter! I agree with all Ray has said. He nailed it and so did you, Hemali. Fantastic.
What a wonderful chapter, Hemali! I'm really impressed with how seamlessly you've carried on the plot, developing Paul and Art's back story and continuing the biblical reference. Charlotte the tarot card reader is a great addition too.
Oh wow! How am I to continue after such a brilliant, clever chapter? Had my heart beating faster and faster towards the end! Well done!